New beginnings are frail delicate things that must be nurtured in order to fulfill their promise. Anyone who has ever started a campfire in a storm can bear witness to this. In this economic climate many folks would quail at the thought of starting a new enterprise. Amy Morton of Morton Fine Arts (MFA) is made of sterner stuff.
Amy Morton recently left the Principle Gallery in Alexandria Virgina and struck out on her own and opened Morton Fine Arts. For her opening show titled, “ I Dream Awake“, Amy took us on a romp though a dreamland populated with amazing and glorious works. The caliber and range of artists in this show left me well, gobsmacked.
Artist Margret Bowland who won the People’s Choice Award at the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2009 at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery had two amazing works of one of her favorite models displayed. My favorite of the two was titled, Another Thorny Crown. The model is a young girl from North Carolina who stares sadly and proudly at those who dare to observer her. Looking at her, you get the sense that the model is a very old soul. The painting was charcoal and pastel on paper unframed and unshielded from casual touch or the a breath or well anything. I loved it!
I was also introduced to several new artists at the show, Vonn Sumner and Mikel Glass. Vonn Sumner paints these wonderful sharp subtle paintings of figures. They are male, they are in these outlandish masks, and when you peer closely you realize-well, they are Vonn. I loved them! At first glance they were flat and very much a 2D image. But the image was so compelling I had to look closer. And having looked at one, I was hooked and had to closely examine every one of them.
If artist Vonn Sumner’s works are sharp and subtle, artist Mikel Glass’s works were a study in contrast. His painting, Machine in the Garden- Steampunk Shelley had a woman clasping a child very Edwardian and upright, in this incredible frame. The frame had parts that moved, wheels gently turning a thin belt around the painting, vacuum tubes sprouted out of the frame in groups like silver space age mushrooms. And then there was this stand. The stand looked like it was brass and part of an antique floor lamp. If you pushed down on the top of the stand and waited, a thin fog would waft up out of the frame to add to the experience of viewing his painting. I normally would not enjoy this type of thing because it detracts so much for the work, but it was all the work…and, well it was fun. I made the fog several times and belly laughed each time I did it. Thank you so much Mikel!
I was happy to also see one of my favorite DC artists, Tim Tate at the show. Tim had three beautiful works on display. The one that caught my eye the most was his, She was Often Gripped With the Desire to be Elsewhere. The video clip seemed to be of a young child’s legs filmed as casually strolled along. I kept staring at the image because it reminded me of something but I couldn’t think of what it was. Then it hit me, for some reason the walk reminded me of Scout (Atticus Finch’s daughter) from the movie to Kill a Mockingbird. I love just about everything Tim has made, and I am still mad at myself for not buying one of his glass hearts when I could (grrrr always will be the one that got away for me!).
Amy Morton guided us through an amazing wonderland with MFA’s inaugural event, I Dream Awake. If this carefully curated show is a hint of things to come, I can tell you two things. Most importantly Amy did well to follow her vision which lead to her to creating MFA and number two, she’s hit it out of the ballpark on this one. Congratulations Amy!
Note- there are some phenomenal pictures of the show and some of the works at Brightestyoungthings.com.